Press Release
September 4, 2008

Loren pushes more benefits for elderlies

The country's over five million senior citizens stand to get more benefits once a law being pushed by Senator Loren Legarda is enacted.

According to Legarda, the Senate Committee on Social Justice and Rural Development which she chairs, is already finalizing the draft committee report on the state of millions of Filipino senior citizens.

"Through this measure, we endeavor to reinforce State support for senior citizens, to provide better living conditions for our senior citizens," Legarda said during the Senior Citizens' Summit yesterday at the Amoranto Theater in Quezon City.

"This measure aims to enable our senior citizens to become self-reliant in this time and age where the many challenges and difficulties as a nation seemingly push them towards the margins of our society," Legarda said, adding that she intends to file and sponsor her proposed law in the plenary in the coming weeks.

Legarda explained that the passage of the bill will reflect the country's appreciation and indebtedness to all senior citizens for all their contributions in nation-building and in country's quest foe peace, progress and development.

Under the proposed measure, the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs would be strengthened to enable it to take a proactive and dynamic stance in the implementation of the laws.

Legarda revealed that the Senate committee has conducted public hearings to introduce amendments and thereby increase the benefits of the senior citizens.

Some of the salient features of proposed law are 30% discount from all establishments and services which are covered by EVAT law, 20% discount on services not covered by EVAT Law, and mandatory coverage of Philhealth.

"We also intend to give additional pension of P1500 for indigent senior citizens and, in case of calamities or natural disasters, we shall provide social safety nets such as food assistance, financial subsidies or allowance of P1,000,' Legarda said.

The Philippines is one of the Asian countries with a rapid growth in number of citizens aged 60 years and above, the other countries being China, South Korea and Japan.

According to Legarda citizens aged 60 years and above has reached 322 million in 2000 in the whole of Asia. The number is expected to reach to 705 million in 2025, making Asia "home to the largest number of older persons worldwide."

"Different factors like decrease in fertility and mortality rates coupled with the increase in life expectancy and longevity are reasons why we have huge number of senior citizens in the whole Asia," Legarda said.

Legarda cited a United Nations study revealing that most of the countries worldwide are not ready for the challenges that may arise out the increasing population of senior citizens.

According to the same study, China, South Korea and Japan are having difficulty in their attempts to respond to many challenging and emerging issues regarding their elderly population, such as weaknesses in family support for the elderly, shortages in community-based services for elderly, inadequate social security system, and lack of medical care networks.

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